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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleFrankenburg, Mrs Charis
Ref No8SUF/B/144
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 30
Date12 Apr 1977
Extent84:29 mins
DescriptionInterview took place at 111 Marsham Court, Marsham Street, London SW1.
Interview in 2 parts: 8SUF/B/144a and 8SUF/B/144b. 144a cannot be understood due to sound quality problems.

Interview summary:
0:00 mins:
Mary Stocks. Maternal Mortality Movement. Charis's conservatism and its strange place amongst a largely left movement. Secretary of Maternal Mortality organisation. Became involved with the birth control movement via her interest in child-rearing. Her parents' attitude to birth control, and her own employment of it to space her children. Belief in childbirth being natural. Critique of medicalisation of childbirth. Doctor's neglect of abortion cases. Strict rules for inclusion in birth control clinic. Only married women who had one child. Description of premises in Salford. High demand for abortion from women. How the clinic was run. Relationships with clients. Interview procedure. Kind and confidential. Dr Olive Gimson. Minimal equipment. All women ran the clinic.

15:00 mins:
Religious opposition to the clinic. Change in attitude towards birth control as years went on. Joint partnership with Mary Stocks. Practical relationship. Problem of client's guilt because of religious backgrounds. How money was raised for the birth clinic. Sydney's Frankenburg's generosity. Money collections at meetings. Attended by all women. Free services in clinic. Spoke to a variety of audiences. Predominantly spoke about maternal mortality. How she managed work, housework and raising children. Big house parties. Relationships with servants. Daughter Ursula's illness. Took time off work.

30:00 mins:
Daughter's illness why she didn't stand for parliament. Took on minimal roles. Social circles she moved in. Lack of support from parliament apart from husband. Mary's personality. Margaret Pyke - met her at Somerville College, Oxford. Her friends: Dorothy Rowe, Dorothy Sayers, Muriel Jaeger. Attitude to the Women's Movement at college. Attended suffrage meetings in Hyde Park (not Oxford). Her parents' upbringing of her. Mother in favour of non-militant suffrage. Margaret Chubb (nee Pyke).

45:00 mins:
Speaking debates in Oxford. Playful aspects of societies in Oxford. Relationship to Vera Brittain. Dislike of her book. Last year at University and 'growing up.' Getting her degree. Activities of the Manchester Women Citizen's Association. Helped grassroots political activity. Friction between Charis and Lady Shena Simon (of Wythenshawe). Relationships between Women's Associations. National Council of Women. Town Women's Guild. Worked as representative on the health committee of the National Council of Women. Became chairman.

60:00 mins:
Member of the Salford branch of the National Council of Women. Difference to the Women's Citizen's Association. Used influence to pass motions about birth control in National Council of Women. Jewish background and the role of Jewish women in the women's movement. Church of England upbringing. When she left the clinic. Clinic moved into a hospital before the Second World War. Her husband's illness. Attended national meetings of the Family Planning Association. Her husband's death - he overworked and collapsed. Non-feminist origins of birth control politics. Medical roots. Her work in France. Her husband's anti-feminism. Class composition of Women's Citizen Association. Margaret Pyke's political skills within the birth control movement.

75:00 mins:
Birth control methods. 'The cap.' Men unwilling to use condoms ('French letters'). Free supply of birth control methods. Fitted in the clinic. Women nervous about their bodies. Birth control a new area. Backstreet abortions. How this was discussed at meetings. Abuse from public she received at meetings. Discretion when talking about her activities to friends and at meetings.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 53
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